Sam Vara wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:26 pm
chownah wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:01 pm
Sam Vara wrote: ↑
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
Specifically, having control is a sufficient and necessary condition for having a self, in the context within which the Buddha was talking.
I chuckled when I read this......it is sort of funny to see someone state a necessary and sufficient condition for something which does not exist!!!!!!
Agreed! But that's the point: if a thing exists, then it has that
. But it doesn't have that
, so it doesn't exist.
When the Buddha was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta (SN44.10) whether or not a self did exist, the Buddha didn’t reply. Later on when asked by the venerable Ananda on why he kept silent, the Buddha explained:
If I had answered that there is a self it would be siding with eternalists.
And answering that there is no self would be siding with annihilationists.
And if I had answered that there is a self, would this be consistent with the insight: “All things are not-self”? [Ananda] No, Bhante.
And if I had answered that there is no self, the wanderer Vacchagotta would have become even more confused thinking: “The self I used to have now suddenly does not exists”.
Some conclude that the last part means that there is no self (doesn’t exist) and that the Buddha didn’t explain that to Vacchagotta who would otherwise become even more confused.
There are a few problems with this interpretation. For one (found close by) it would be siding with the annihilationists, which was already tackled in the first place.
That ‘All things are not-self’ would be correct for those holding the view ‘there is no self’ as well (They might think ‘All things are not-self’ because
there is no self). But unlike the view ‘there is a self’, there is consistency. Because of this consistency, the inconsistency card could here not be played. But this does not mean, not even logically, that things are not-self only
in the case of no self. What can correctly be said is things are not-self when things are not-self, or that things which are depended are thus not-self, etc.
If all things are not self, or if (no)thing is self, a distorted conclusion would be that a self is not. So “I” too would have no self. But then we got the situation that there must be a self (“I”) in order to have no self. And so “The self I used to have now suddenly does not exists” would then be the logical conclusion for Vacchagotta.
Although confused Vacchagotta was not stupid. There are more sermons of him asking questions related to this, so we can see that he was inquiring, studying, seeing that what the Buddha and his disciples explained was consistent; so he was trying to understand what they were aiming at. And successful too, later he did became one of the arahants.
What was the question?
“And if I had answered that there is no self, the wanderer Vacchagotta would have become even more confused…”
This seem to be (mis)understood as a potential valid answer to which Vacchagotta was just not ready. But it may depends a bit on how we interpreted Ananda’s question. Ananda would have know that these closed questions were based on Wrong View. And that the Buddha was silent because answering them would not be conducive to the end of suffering. So the question could be interpreted as how (in what manner) these views were not conducive to the end of suffering. And thus we see the Buddha explaining which problems would arise with either one of these two mutually exclusive views: Both are siding with wrong view, on top of that one is even inconsistent with what we know and the other, though consistent, would still add to the confusion.